THE DAILY WHIP: THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013

House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:

9:00 a.m.: Legislative Business

Five “One Minutes” per side

10:30 - 11:00 a.m. 11:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Senate Amendment to H.R. 933 – Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (Rep. Rogers (KY) – Appropriations) (Unanimous Consent Agreement, One Hour of Debate). The Senate Amendment to H.R. 933 funds government operations through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2013. The bill contains a full-year FY13 Defense Appropriations bill and a full-year FY13 Military Construction-Veteran Affairs Appropriations bill, like the House passed version did, but it also includes full-year FY13 Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) and Homeland Security bills, which are consistent with the bipartisan agreements negotiated last fall. The measure extends funding for all other government agencies without such adjustment through an extension of the current Continuing Resolution of FY12 policy in effect through March 27.  

The further stipulation that sequestration will apply affirms that all federal agencies funded by the bill, including The Pentagon, will face its cuts. This means that the topline discretionary funding rate within the legislation is $984 billion – the level required by sequestration and $59 billion below the Budget Control Act's agreed upon $1,043 billion level. Although the measure is improved by including full Appropriations bills for Agriculture, CJS and Homeland in addition to Defense and MilCon-VA, updating only these agencies for FY13 realities, it still fails to update the remaining 7 Appropriations bills in the same manner.

Bill Text for Senate Amendment to H.R. 933:
PDF Version

Complete Consideration of H.Con.Res. 25 - The Republican Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Resolution (Rep. Ryan (WI) – Budget). The Republican Budget submitted by Chairman Paul Ryan cuts non-defense discretionary spending by more than $1 trillion below the level of the 2011 Budget Control Act caps, which already reduced spending to its lowest level as a share of GDP since 1962.   It would end the Medicare guarantee and turn it into a voucher program.  It would save $810 billion by turning Medicaid into a capped block grant. The Republican Budget also relies on a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, despite the fact that it was upheld by the Supreme Court and withstood over 30 votes on repeal last Congress. The Republican Budget is a combination of the same Romney/Ryan policies that the American people rejected in November and magic asterisks that hide the harsh policies required to make its numbers add up.

It not only supports the “meat-ax” approach to reducing spending by cutting below sequestration's level of discretionary spending, but also claims $962 billion in “other mandatory” cuts while giving no specifics on what those cuts are, or what policies are used to implement them. Programs in this “other mandatory” category serve the needy and the disadvantaged, harming the people with the least means while asking nothing of the wealthy.  Further, the Republican Budget protects defense spending from sequestration, and then doubles down on sequestration's cuts to nondefense discretionary spending to pay for it.

The Republican Budget claims to balance the budget in 10 years, but makes no mention of new revenues. It would create just two tax brackets for individuals – 10% and 25% and a top corporate tax rate of 25% (currently 35%) while claiming to raise trillions of dollars through the elimination of tax preferences – but fails to name even one of them specifically.  These tax cuts, along with the Republican Budget’s repeal of the AMT, would result in over $5.7 trillion in lost revenue, and would require raising taxes for the middle class to remain revenue neutral.  Despite repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Budget also cynically keeps over $700 billion in Medicare savings – the same savings Chairman Ryan criticized last Fall during the campaign – and the $1 trillion in revenue that comes from the law.  

The Republican Budget Resolution is very similar to the Budget that Republicans proposed last year and the American people summarily dismissed last Fall.  It is once again not a serious document that avoids tough decisions and forces the American people to play ‘fill in the blanks’ with the details. It is an ideological, message document for hard-line conservatives that slashes investments in innovation, education, and infrastructure, which puts our economic recovery at risk and threatens American jobs. It does not reduce the deficit in a responsible way, instead placing the burden of deficit reduction onto seniors, the middle class, working families, and the most vulnerable while refusing to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute. It ends the Medicare guarantee; repeals the Affordable Care Act; harms non-defense discretionary spending immensely, while shielding defense spending from reductions; and achieves deficit reduction on the backs of the middle class and seniors.  This Budget rejects a big, bold, and balanced approach to reducing our nation’s deficit. Members are urged to VOTE NO on H.Con.Res. 25.

The Rule which was adopted on Tuesday, makes in order no further amendments and provides for 10 minutes of final general debate time controlled by the Committee on Budget.

Bill Text for H.Con.Res. 25:
HTML Version

PDF Version
Background for H.Con.Res. 25:
House Report (HTML Version)

House Report (PDF Version)
Summary of Amendments

 
The Daily Quote

“House Republican leaders beat back conservatives’ effort to substitute more drastic spending cuts than those contained in Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s fiscal blueprint, as Democrats forced the issue by voting present on the floor… Typically, Republicans can rely on Democrats to vote no on conservative amendments, which allows some middle-of-the-conference Republicans to vote ‘yes’ on conservative proposals without the fear they will pass. But on Wednesday, most House Democrats cast ‘present’ votes. That meant that only Republicans would decide whether the RSC budget would replace the Ryan plan… While the outcome was never seriously in doubt, the Democratic procedural maneuver ensured Republicans didn’t get to cast a freebie vote for a budget that plays well with the conservative base but is considered too extreme even by most members of the GOP.”

-    Politico, 3/20/13

“Senate Republicans aren’t so eager to vote on the Paul Ryan budget. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the top Republican on the Budget Committee, told a handful of reporters Tuesday that Republicans may not offer the Ryan plan as an amendment when Democrats bring up their budget resolution for a vote later this week. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan’s budget doesn’t come up one way or the other in this process,’ Sessions said on the same afternoon that his caucus met with Ryan on the budget. He praised the House budget chief’s work as ‘honest’ and ‘wonderful’ but said Senate Republicans ‘might have different views’ on how to move forward. Nearly all Senate GOP members are already on the record voting for the Ryan budget in 2012 and 2011, so another vote would not be a huge deal. And most of them have nothing but praise for Ryan and his work. But Sessions’ remarks could suggest that after an electoral drubbing last November while campaigning on the Ryan plan, Senate Republicans, unlike their House counterparts, are ready to explore other avenues.”

-    Talking Points Memo, 3/19/13